UFC’s new and 18th undisputed heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum, last night got the job done in three rounds. The Brazilian coped his prize in style by choking out his opponent Cain Velasquez, of Salinas California, in front of a sell-out crowd of over 20,000 fans at Arena Ciudad de México in Mexico City.
The pundits had placed Werdum as the underdog for the match, although he was the interim champion. The 37-year-old went against the odds and gave the crowd a performance that made his opponent “tap out” in the third. The match began with both men going at it, and scorers having a tough time to separate the pair. Velasquez began great, showing why he was touted the favorite. As the round kept on rolling, Werdum eased into the match by exchanging blows with Velasquez. The crowd showed clearly who they supported, by shouting Velasquez in a chorus followed by a chant of “Ole Ole, Ole Velasquez, Velasquez”. At this point, no one could have guessed that Werdum would have gotten the job done in such a profound manner that he would end up being crowned the new heavyweight UFC champion in three rounds.
In the second round, Werdum began to stamp his authority on the fight with numerous amounts of uppercuts, right hooks and knees to the midsection. The blows seemed to pile up as Velasquez was seen clearly staggering around the ring, with his medic rushing to his aid after the second round. The third round was a nightmare for Velasquez, as fatigue played a part in his game. He tried everything to get back into the match, with a few shots landing on his opponent.
Werdum, on the other hand, kept his composure by continuing with his jabs and knees to Velasquez’s mid section. In losing his game plan, Velasquez launched a desperate take down shot at Werdum, only to set himself into a compromising situation. This gave Werdum the leverage that he needed to perfom a devastating choke, leaving Velasquez with only one option of tapping out. Four fifths of the crowd went silent as Werdum rushed to his team to celebrate.
This match sends a message to the UFC world that questioned Werdum’s ability. The fighter who had fought Mark Hunt instead of Velasquez himself, due to a tear in his meniscus late last year, earned himself the interim champion title. However he was still unproven by not facing Velasquez. Werdum becomes the sixth out of nine people in the history of the UFC to go from interim champion to undisputed champion. He also becomes the ninth Brazilian-born fighter to win a UFC championship. He is one win away from having the longest active winning streak in the heavy weight division, tied with fighter Andrei Arlovski at six wins.
Four out of six of his wins have come through stoppage along with becoming the only person to defeat Velasquez, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fedor Emelianenko, all by submission. The round three submission job that Werdum had done, earned him the title of the new UFC undisputed heavyweight champion and has gotten him accolades for his excellence in the fighting community.
Commentary By Andrew Joseph
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Photos courtesy of Mark Richardson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License